Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam told Rose that social capital comes in two forms, bonding and bridging, Rose writes. "Bonding social capital defines the networks that exist among similar types of people, while bridging social capital characterizes networks between different types of people. The two "occupy a critical crossroads in the community, harnessing mainstream resources and connecting them to grassroots concerns." And that doesn't necessarily mean big sums of money, Rose notes.
One example is in the Black Belt of Alabama, where more than half the children live in poverty. Known as the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement, the region consists of 19 counties mostly in the southern and southwestern part of the state, where public schools are mostly black and private schools are mostly white, Rose writes. But a program called 100 Lenses is bridging the racial gap by giving cameras to 100 students from various backgrounds to photograph their communities. The students, many of whom never interact with children of other races, then spend a week together at the University of Alabama. (UA photo: The 100 Lenses project)
James Joseph, chair emeritus of the board at Manpower Development Corp., which says it helps organizations and communities close the gaps that separate people from opportunity, told Rose that a program like 100 Lenses "uses social capital to increase trust, bringing together black and white students who would not normally interact" and it "uses moral capital, suggesting that a healthy and functioning society is one with interracial community and leadership."
Joseph told Rose, “Foundations can help our nation focus on the macro-ethics of our aggregate existence, the public values that build community.” Rose writes that "doing that involves challenging racial prejudice and inequity, or suggesting the need for broader leadership. Foundation leadership can lower the social risk of tackling sensitive issues by helping policy makers and the public face difficult issues and imagine progress. Exerting moral capital requires philanthropic courage, but done wisely, the returns on investment can and will move society forward." (Read more)